Experts root for market-driven solution to Africa’s water, sanitation crisis

Experts root for market-driven solution to Africa’s water, sanitation crisis NAIROBI, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — African countries should harness market-based initiatives supported by the local private sector to bridge a yawning water and sanitation access gap in the continent, experts said at a forum in Nairobi on Tuesday.
According to the experts attending the two-day Aid and International Development Forum Africa Summit, harnessing capital, skills and technologies from industry could offer durable solution to water and sanitation crisis in the world’s second largest content.
Tobias Omufwoko, the Country Director of the Wash Alliance Kenya said a market driven approach should be adopted to boost access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in Africa.
"Countries in Africa should rethink their models of tackling water and sanitation challenges.
The business sector could present more innovative and long-lasting solutions if it is given the right incentives," Omufwoko said.
Delegates attending the Pan African Aid Summit in Nairobi who included policymakers, industry executives and scholars agreed that the continent’s prosperity hinges on universal access to clean water and sanitation.
Omufwoko noted that private sector investments in water and sewerage infrastructure have improved access to these critical services in Africa’s urban centers.
"The private sector has also been supplying innovations like solar based water treatment gadgets to communities in remote areas," said Omufwoko.
"Small and medium sized businesses have also supplied affordable water harvesting technologies in rural Africa," he added.
"The market based mechanisms to address water and sanitation access gap can work in Africa in the light of higher investor confidence, reforms and political stability in most parts of the continent," Llario said.

Predicting ‘when to do what’ in gardens is tricky

Hello valley gardeners!
The abundant rain this past winter had great impact on the volume and quality of blooms.
A minor pruning to remove old blooms will reset the cycle of blooming.
Continue shaping the bush for best production by pruning the cane to an outward facing bud.
As I always say, organics are much better for your soil, your garden and the environment.
One must cover up bare body parts when applying chemical treatments for disease or pests.
I prefer composted mulch, not course wood forest products, applied to a depth of four inches.
Some roses are now being grown in our area that are grafted onto Fortuniana root stock, and these roses have a different root habit – their root systems are shallower but also broader, so watering is best done covering the entire bedding area verses the local zone for Dr Huey grafted roses.
Use of organic fertilizer will eventually save you money as in time less is needed as it will improve the soil components instead of reducing the elements, especially if you also add three to four inches of composted mulch every two to three years.
I have grown many varieties of roses in my gardens.

Growings On: Long drought still hurting state’s forests

Severe drought leads to loss of root tissue.
Permanent loss of leaves and roots greatly reduce the tree’s ability to recover, even when moisture is restored.
Dead and dying trees provide ideal habitat for Ips engraver beetles.
Immediate damage from this drought is evidenced by dying tree tops, brown leaves and dropping needles.
Long-term damage to root systems is likely.
During the next two to three years, both hardwoods and pines will die due to root damage suffered during this drought.
In the initial Ips outbreak report on Nov. 22, 2016, it was stated that sound management practices such as thinning are normally key to maintaining stand vigor and health in the prevention of bark beetle infestations.
However, the Georgia Forestry Commission recommends that with abnormal drought conditions and a greater amount of stressed trees observed, normal stand management practices should be reconsidered.
Time will be required for forest stands to recover to a healthy and vigorous condition, capable of withstanding natural and human-caused stresses.
Landowners managing forested property are encouraged to work with a professional forester, monitor stands for insects and disease, determine soil moisture and overall stand conditions, and minimize additional stress factors.

Researchers image roots in the ground

Geophysicists at the University of Bonn have now visualized such processes for the first time using electrical impedance tomography.
The researchers have now published their results in the scientific journal Biogeosciences.
Plants imbibe the vital cocktail of water and mineral nutrients through their roots.
This twisting organ not only provides purchase in the soil — the fine root hairs actually grow actively into soil zones where the fount of nutrients bubbles particularly richly.
The mineral substances in the soil are usually present in the form of electrically charged ions.
"The ions influence the electrical properties of the roots, which enables us to visualize the uptake of nutrients by roots in a new way," says Prof. Dr. Andreas Kemna, geophysicist at the University of Bonn.
His team has now developed a new method: The scientists "x-ray" the root systems of the plants using electrical impedance tomography, which is also used as an imaging technique in medicine.
"Unlike doctors, however, we not only measure electrical conductivity, but also electrical polarizability, which is influenced by the uptake of nutrients at the plant root," explains Prof. Kemna.
"Researchers image roots in the ground: Geophysicists use new method to visualize the activity of root systems."
"Researchers image roots in the ground: Geophysicists use new method to visualize the activity of root systems."